Author Archive for Msgr. Charles Pope

On the Paradoxical Connection Between Love and Law – A Homily for the 6th Sunday of Easter

In the gospel today, Jesus cuts right across the modern Western tendency to oppose love and law, and law and joy. Though we oppose them, Jesus joins all three concepts and summons us to a new attitude. Let’s take a look. I. Connections – Jesus says, As the Father loves me, so I also love […] Read the rest of this entry »

Healing or Relief? Nailing Down the Real Problem, As Seen in a Funny Video

There is a stereotype regarding men and women that says that men like to solve problems while women like to seek sympathy and see a problem as a way to relate. OK, there is some truth here, but it is more of a vague tendency than a strong trait, and there are exceptions on both sides. The video below […] Read the rest of this entry »

It is the Decision of the Holy Spirit and Us – On the Council of Jerusalem and the Catholicity of the Early Church

In the first reading at today’s Mass is recounted the Council of Jerusalem, which scholars generally date to around 50 A.D. It was a pivotal moment in the history of the Church, since it would set forth an identity for the Church that was independent of the culture of Judaism per se, and would open […] Read the rest of this entry »

Pondering Prudence and Its “Parts” – A Reflection on the Sometimes-Misunderstood Virtue of Prudence

As a follow-on to yesterday’s post on the spiritual work of counseling  the doubtful, I would like to say a little more about prudence. Prudence is often misunderstood by those who reduce it to mere caution or reluctance to act. It is true that sometimes prudence indicates caution and that hasty action is seldom prudent. However, sometimes […] Read the rest of this entry »

Counsel the Doubtful – A Meditation on the Third Spiritual Work of Mercy

At first glance, counseling the doubtful may seem rather similar to instructing the ignorant. However, teaching has learning as its goal while counseling aims to assist with decisions. Certainly giving counsel often includes some aspects of teaching, such as providing information and perspective, but its primary purpose is to assist a person in coming to a decision. This […] Read the rest of this entry »

A Brief Directive for Church Leaders from the Acts of the Apostles

The second reading from today’s Mass is very Catholic and too informative to let pass without comment. It presents a highly organized Church, possessing some of the structures we know today in full form. Granted, some of these structures are in seminal (seed) form, but they are there. We will also notice qualities of the original kerygma that […] Read the rest of this entry »

Pondering Pruning – A Meditation on This Necessary Work of God in Our Lives

The gospel from Sunday (John 15:1-8) presents us with an important meditation on the difference between love and kindness. Perhaps some further reflections from this gospel are in order today. There is an unfortunate tendency in our times to reduce love to kindness. Kindness is an aspect of love, but so is rebuke. It is […] Read the rest of this entry »

If You Ever Leave Me, I’m Going With You! A Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter

In this Easter Season, we continue to reflect on how the risen Lord Jesus minsters to us and supplies our needs. Last week we considered him as our shepherd. This week we learn how He is the vine and we the branches on the vine, wholly dependent on Him for everything. As we consider how […] Read the rest of this entry »

Mamma Mia – Perfectly in God’s Design, as Seen in a Short Video

My mother died a little more than ten years ago, quite tragically and suddenly. At first her presence seemed so far away, her soothing voice with its gentle mid-western accent, gone. But then about six months ago, in my heart and deep in my thoughts, I had a sense that suddenly she moved closer to […] Read the rest of this entry »

God on His Terms, Not Ours

There is a brief interaction between Jesus and certain unbelieving Jews on the Temple Mount which illustrates the rather common human tendency to demand that God be God on our terms, not His. Here is that dialogue: And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around […] Read the rest of this entry »

More Precious than Silver or Gold – A Meditation on the Spiritual Work of Mercy to Instruct the Ignorant

To instruct comes from the Latin in + struere, which means to build up or (even more literally) to pile up. In English, there is also the notion of strewing something. For example, to strew hay or to say that the seed has been strewn. Thus, to instruct means to disperse knowledge or build someone up in what is learned. […] Read the rest of this entry »

There Are Some Things That Are Not for You to Know – A Meditation on the Seven Thunders of the Book of Revelation

In the Office last week, we read a poignant passage from the Book of Revelation. It reminds us that there are some things that are not for us to know. Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was […] Read the rest of this entry »